Conferences, Seminars and Other Events











  • Crossing Borders: Legal, Security and Health Perspectives on Pandemic Influenza - 23 November 2007
  • Sociological reflections on ethics, embryonic stem cells and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis - 26 June 2007
    Speaker: Professor Steven Wainwright & Professor Clare Williams King’s College London, University of London
    In this seminar we draw upon our recent and ongoing research projects on ‘the embryo’. We discuss the problems and prospects of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, particularly the interactions between the lab and the clinic. We also discuss practitioners’ views on the ethical issues of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). We begin with an examination of some of the key differences between philosophical and empirical approaches to ethics and we outline how the concept of ‘boundary-work’ illuminates ethics, the embryo, hESC and PGD. We then explore the ethical views of scientists from two other social science perspectives: firstly, through the framework of Pierre Bourdieu – and particularly the idea of ethical capital in the field of science. Secondly, we explore ethical landscapes in stem cell research through a geographies of science approach. We then bring these ideas together and argue that a ‘Bourdieusian Geographies’ perspective is helpful in understanding new medical technologies as moral economies. We illustrate this idea of ‘moral connections between worlds’ through a discussion of what has been heralded as a ‘new paradigm in biomedicine’, the ‘disease-in-a-dish’ approach which is beginning to link the worlds of human embryonic stem cells and PGD. We conclude our seminar by raising a set of broader ethical and social issues that are often overlooked in bioethical debates on the embryo, PGD and stem cells.